We all know being an equestrian is an expensive lifestyle, from riding lessons to livery we can easily spend a fortune on our equine partners. But, with careful planning and following some of the below tips, we can make owning horses a lot less financially stressful.
Due to having three horses on a budget, I have learnt a selection of tips and tricks which makes keeping my lot happy and healthy, yet, affordable.
An important note
Saving money on essential items can significantly reduce your overall expenses. Before I share some of my favourite budget-friendly essentials, it’s important to emphasise that I strongly advise against cutting corners on the following crucial aspects:
- High-quality forage.
- Dust-free bedding (if your horse is stabled).
- Veterinary, saddler, and farrier visits.
While these items may come with higher upfront costs, investing in them can save you money in the long run. It’s often wiser to spend £50 on having your saddle checked rather than facing a £1000 vet bill to address the issues caused by an ill-fitting saddle.
When it comes to purchasing essential items such as hay, feed, bedding, or other supplies for your horses, it’s important to be mindful of your expenses. The costs associated with these items can add up quickly, but there are several strategies you can employ to make your purchases more cost-effective:
- Seek Local Advice: Before you make any purchases, consult with your fellow horse owners! Whether this is other liveries, equestrian groups on social media or local farmers, they can provide valuable insights into where to find quality products at reasonable prices. Their recommendations may also include specific brands or suppliers known for reliability.
- Shop Smart: Don’t rush into buying supplies. Take your time to research and compare prices from various sources, both online and in local stores. Keep an eye out for deals, discounts, and promotions.
- Buy in Bulk: Consider purchasing supplies in larger quantities. Bulk buying often comes with discounted prices, and you’ll also reduce the frequency of your shopping trips, saving both time and money in the long run. Be sure to store these items properly (especially forage) to maintain their quality. If you keep your horses on a livery yard, confirm if anyone else would like to split the cost of a bulk load.
- Time Your Purchases: Timing can make a significant difference in your expenses. For instance, buy forage and bedding during off-peak seasons, like summer. During these times, demand is often lower, and suppliers may offer discounts to reduce their stock for the upcoming harvest.
- Plan and Budget: Create a budget for your equine care expenses and stick to it. You can better manage your spending by planning ahead and allocating specific amounts for hay, feed, bedding, and other supplies.
- Local Suppliers & Small Businesses: Explore suppliers and small businesses in your area. Purchasing from local suppliers can reduce transport costs, and your carbon footprint, plus, you’re supporting local businesses!
Value Beyond Labels
As equestrians, we are all familiar with popular brand names, companies like Weatherbeeta, LeMieux, Ariat etc are well known for their excellent quality and have a huge share of the horsey market. However, when you’re on a tight budget, big brands such as this can be out of reach.
Fortunately, there’s a viable alternative. Generic labels, available through platforms like Amazon, can offer good quality at more affordable prices. It’s important to undertake a thorough review check, ensuring that both generic and branded products meet the desired standards. This way, even on a tight budget, equestrians can find products that deliver quality and value.
On the hunt for budget-friendly discoveries? Explore my curated collection of tried-and-true essential products that have become my personal favourites for saving money.
- Gallop: This rug brand is one of my firm favourites. The quality of the rugs is good and the price point is also fab! These are very well suited to my wider set cob that normal rugs can come up quite narrow on.
- Water bowls: One thing I find frustrating in the horsey community is the increased price of items just because they are made by a horsey brand. If you would like to save money on generic water bowls, take a look at the ones linked (plus, there are still lots of colours available!).
- Hay nets: at my local tack shop, the selection of hay nets is small and normally rather pricey. The last few I have brought from equestrian boot fairs (new) and from Amazon to save a few pennies.
- Headcollars & lead ropes: I have an unhealthy obsession with browsing the headcollar selection at my local tack shops, in turn, I have far too many. One of my favourites has been the linked set from Amazon. They are at a great price point, come in a selection of colours and stop me getting distracted in a brick-and-mortar store.
- Budget tracker: not necessarily a horse purchase, but a budget tracker of some sort can be a really handy resource to have. I like ones where I have a space to record my daily expenses, as these are the little bits I often forget to record at the end of the month, especially if I have paid in cash.
Money-Saving Tips for Tack and Equipment
Tack can be one of the most significant expenses in your budget, the good news, however, is that you don’t have to make these purchases too often. My favourite method for buying tack is talking to my saddler regarding her second-hand options and trawling Facebook marketplace.
When buying second-hand, thoroughly inspect the tack for damage before you purchase. If you aren’t sure what you’re looking for, bring a professional with you.
Once you have purchased your tack (and had it professionally fitted), the best way to ensure your purchase has a long life is to care for it properly. Clean your tack regularly and check for any wear and tear after rides. Store the tack in a cool, dry place to avoid mould growth and replace any worn parts.
Although not a cheap hobby, using these tips and tricks can make horse ownership a lot more financially feasible for a number of people. Remember, never cut corners on vet bills, forage supply etc, as this will likely cost you more in the future.